A fundraising father and son have arrived safely back in Britain after descending from Base Camp Everest hours before an avalanche killed 16 Sherpa climbing guides.

Stoneleigh’s Clive Hagley and his son Max Hagley, from Ashtead, set off for Base Camp at the end of last week from Namche Bazaar in Nepal on the second phase of their trek, to raise money for a family friend suffering from a genetic condition affecting the immune system.

They were waiting for the heavy snowfall to ease, but managed to reach Base Camp, which is at more than 5,000m.  Trekking back on Good Friday they heard the news about the avalanche just four hours further up the mountain.

The Hagleys were part of an expedition organised by Unfinished Business Society, an organisation set up by entrepreneur and experienced adventurer Roger Davies and Guinness World Record Holder Jan Meek, who lead all the expeditions.

Ms Meek holds the records for being part of the first mother and son team to row any ocean and to walk or ski to any Pole, and for being the oldest woman to walk or ski to Magnetic North Pole aged 62.

She said: "We watched from our windows in Lukla as the helicopters arrived bringing the bodies down from the mountain, all of them known to our own guides and some of them we had met and talked to only the day before"

The group arrived back at London Heathrow yesterday morning (April 22).